Studying the obvious
But, a scientific analysis establishing that what seems to be obvious is really true is also important. Case in point: Text messaging while driving. Over 90 percent of drivers think this is unsafe, even though half of all teens text while driving. Watch what happens to one of our participants when she tries to text while driving on the highway.
The video shows that drivers who text message have difficulty staying in their lane and are more likely to get into a crash.
My colleague Frank Drews and I found that the odds of crashing while texting was 8 times higher than when the driver was not distracted. To put that number in perspective, the odds of crashing while driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 (the legal limit in all 50 states) was 4 times higher than for the unimpaired driver. Text messaging while driving is, in fact, riskier than driving while intoxicated at the legal limit. Don't drink and drive AND don't text and drive!
We also looked at people who claimed to be experts at texting and found that they weren't any better. Text messaging takes drivers' eyes off the road for several seconds to read a message and many of the predictive text messaging features fill in the words that are not desired (e.g., T9 doesn't know if you are "mad" or "sad").
Sometimes it helps to have a sound scientific basis for the obvious.